£300 fine for man who swallowed live goldfish


A man who swallowed his pet goldfish as a dare in the online drinking game Neknominate has been fined £300.

Gavin Hope of Gateshead pleaded guilty to an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.

The 22-year-old salesman appeared at the city’s magistrates court yesterday. He admitted failing to meet the needs of a goldfish by failing to protect it from pain, suffering, injury or disease by drinking it.

It's the first case related to Neknominate — in which drinkers dare one another to top the last stunt — brought by the RSPCA.

The charity was contacted after footage of Mr Hope's dare was posted on Facebook.

RSPCA Chief Inspector Michelle Charlton said: "The video shows Mr Hope prepare a pint glass with lager, chilli, tequila, a fresh egg and fish food before revealing why the fish food is going in.

"He picks up another glass containing a small amount of water and the goldfish, which is swimming around, and shows it to the camera before drinking it down and following it with the pint."

A vet's report advised that the fish would have died in time, the cause of death being a mixture of suffocation and acid pH levels in the stomach, as well as the alcohol he drank.

In mitigation the court heard that it was an impulsive act which would not be repeated and of which Mr Hope was ashamed.

He was ordered to pay a £300 fine, £30 victim surcharge and £431.17 costs.

"Eating a live animal and posting a video of it online for entertainment is not some light-hearted joke — it is unacceptable," added the RSPCA's Michelle Charlton. "We take the use of animals in these 'Neknominate' challenges very seriously."

The RSPCA is urging people not to involve animals in the craze and to report anyone who does, on its cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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